Over the past week Northwest football fell victim to not only the turnover battle, but the mistakes that religiously haunt the Pittsburg State series.
Throughout each season, this matchup is marked up as a predestined classic in the making and the defense is to thank each time for this spectacle.
For the first time since 2014, Northwest will finish with a loss in the regular season, thanks to the defense of the Gorillas. Pittsburg State haunted the Bearcat offense leaving no margin for error and with that type of pressure came mistakes; plenty of them.
Northwest ended up giving the ball up six times to this stout Pitt State defense that ranks in the top 35 in turnover margin. The Bearcats gave the ball away four times through the air and two times on the ground.
The majority of these giveaways were crucial as three times Northwest was within its own side of the field and two more times within the Pittsburg State redzone. The turnovers tallied in only a total of 10 points for the Gorillas, but time was the key essence in this situation.
With each change of possession the clock slowly drained the Bearcats chances until the final whistle.
Thus, the turnover turmoil in the series continued its rampage.To truly understand the victimization of these teams from this issue, a recent history lesson is in order.
In recent matchups, Pittsburg State had been the team with the personal vendetta against this curse of the rivalry. Especially from quarterback standpoint, giveaways plagued Gorilla offense as Pitt State led the interception battle from 2013-2016. The Gorilla quarterbacks went on to throw four interceptions in both 2015 and 2016, while only throwing three in 2014 and two in 2013.
Though the unforgivable turnovers enacted punishment upon the quarterbacks of Pittsburg State, no remorse was found for Northwest in that span either. While the Gorilla’s had their interceptions, the Bearcats had their fumbles. The trend that dates back to 2013 continued in the latest installment of the battle, as Northwest has fumbled at least once in every matchup against the Gorillas since then.
Even with this beast attacking both sides of the war zone, the game would go on to make the best matchup on the schedule. Running down each one of the battles, the scores were always decided by a number of miscues.
The exception to the rule came about last year when Northwest decimated the Gorilla’s to a brutal finish, as Pittsburg State crawled out of Bearcat Stadium with open wounds to a 69-10 defeat. During this beatdown, Northwest suffered only one turnover on a fumble compared to Pittsburg State’s four.
Continuing year-to-year trends, the scores were held closer as Northwest bested the Gorilla’s 31-14 back in 2015. This was not anything close, but the major key in Pittsburg State's defeat was the giveaway margin. The Bearcats once again dominated the turnovers as Northwest turned the ball over only two times against the Gorilla’s five.
Now 2014 was an interesting battle as the team that won the turnover margin did not come away victorious, but the team with the least amount of miscues did.
Though the Bearcats only accumulated two turnovers versus the Gorilla’s four, the number of mistakes were even. Northwest fumbled once and threw one interception, but the killer was Pittsburg State’s kicker. The Gorilla’s were able to secure two onside kick recoveries off of pouch kicks to the thirty and from that they scored both times, ultimately leading to a 35-17 victory.
So as Northwest enters into the rest of the season, the curse will give way, as it hibernates for another year till the war is begun again.